Students take on log rolling

A new fitness opportunity has made its way onto Luther campus. Recreational Services is sponsoring log rolling as a fitness class, free to students, in the Regent’s Center pool. Classes take place at 7:30 and 4:00 for an hour on Tuesdays and Sundays respectfully, and are taught by World Championship competitor Laura Voltz (‘22). Log rolling is a sport in which one or two people run in place on a log, attempting to stay on top longer than their opponent. As the skills of the log roller develop, they can splash their rivals and maneuver the log to try and knock the other person off.

Log rolling was created in the late 19th century, during the Great Logging era. Lumberjacks (typically men) had to transport logs down rivers to cities, and they developed a skill that allowed them to “ride” the logs to avoid getting wet. Log rolling quickly became competitive as the men would see who could stay on top of the log the longest. In the modern age, wooden logs have become unfeasible, so synthetic logs were developed, which are more portable than wood, and can be used in swimming pools without shoes. With fewer restrictions, log rolling transformed into a true sport.

Log rolling is quickly gaining popularity as a way to stay active and get outside in the summer. However, many students had never heard of log rolling before its arrival at Luther. As the sport is gaining recognition around campus, many have voiced an interest in joining the class. Ga-Young Kim (‘22) said “I am interested, but I don’t think I have enough information, I don’t know if I’d be very good at it.”

Log rolling was brought to Luther in the spring of 2019 by Laura Voltz. She first started log rolling seven years ago after trying it at the Lumberjack World Championship in Hayward, Wisconsin. She has participated in multiple competitions, and placed third in the Ametuer World Championship category. Voltz also owns a log rolling business with her sister in Forest Lake, Minnesota, where they teach log rolling classes and promote the sport.

“Log rolling is a new sport and thing to try on campus,” says Voltz “As the instructor, I think it brings together a diverse mix of people who are all searching for something fun, challenging, and interesting.”

  Owen Johnson (‘22) is a participant in Voltz’ class, and is one of a handful who has had past experience with log rolling. He first tried log rolling when he attended the Lumberjack World Championship as a child. After waiting his turn for an hour, he fell off within seconds. When he heard Voltz was starting a log rolling fitness class, he decided to check it out.

“[Log rolling] is a fun way to blow off steam on Sundays when I want to get out of my dorm room,”Johnson said, “ I would highly recommend it, I think it’s probably one of the most unique activities at Luther. I’ve gained a lot of respect for people who do this professionally, because it is hard to combine balance and speed while floating on a log with another human. On the plus side, I’ve gained some stability skills.”

If you are thinking about trying log rolling, Voltz assures that it is for all fitness levels.

“It’s something you don’t really get to try in everyday life, so come to one class, if you hate it, you never have to do it again, but it’s better to try it out than regret not doing it at all.”

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